Olympics-Athletics-Bolt backing Fraser-Pryce to win third Olympic 100m crown


FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's 100m Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 14/08/2016. Usain Bolt (JAM) of Jamaica celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the race REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Usain Bolt believes the only person that can stop his fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from winning a third Olympic 100 metres title at the Tokyo Games is herself.

Only Bolt, at the last three Olympics, has previously managed the feat so Fraser-Pryce would become the first woman to bag a hat-trick of 100m gold medals if she wins the final on July 31.

"I personally feel that Shelly is the only person who can lose this race," Bolt told Reuters.

"I hope she doesn't put too much pressure on herself going in because she's in shape, she's in form, all she has to do is go out there and execute and it shouldn't be a problem.

"I'm looking forward to seeing her and I would be happy to share something like that, to win three Olympics with someone like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as my countrywoman," the retired sprinter added.

While Bolt won his trio of 100m golds at successive Games, Fraser-Pryce won the title at Beijing in 2008 and London 2012 but managed just a bronze behind compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah and American Tori Bowie in Rio.

The diminuative Fraser-Pryce clocked the fastest 100m time in more than three decades in 10.63 seconds in Kingston on June 5.

Bolt was not surprised to see her running so well at the age of 34.

"I can see that she adjusted her technique this season a lot and that's what's helping her to run so fast because now she's a lot more fluent and upright in the last ending of her race," he said.

Reigning champion Thompson-Herah, who also won the 200m to complete the sprint double in Rio, ran 10.71 in Hungary on July 6 and remains the biggest threat to Fraser-Pryce's record bid, according to NBC analyst and former sprinter Ato Boldon.

"I don't see anybody other than Thompson-Herah or Fraser-Pryce winning the Olympic 100m," the Trinidadian, who won four sprint medals at two Olympics, told Reuters.

"That's not a hard prognostication to make because those two have been the dominant sprinters of their generation and Fraser-Pryce has been the most dominant ever."

Fraser-Pryce also enters the Tokyo Games as the second-fastest women over 200 metres this season on the back of the career-best 21.79 that won her the Jamaican trails final in June.

American champion Gabby Thomas leads the world, however, with her run of 21.61 at the U.S. trials the second-fastest of all-time behind Florence Griffith-Joyner's 1988 world record of 21.34.

Bolt, though, does not think a first Olympic gold in the half-lap event and a Tokyo sprint double for Fraser-Pryce is out of the question.

"I think the 200m is going to be a lot tougher after coming from the 100m," he said. "So for me, I believe in her and I can see the work and the talent, it shouldn't be a problem as long as she's focused and continues pushing forward."

(Reporting by Kayon Raynor; Editing by Kim Coghill and Nick Mulvenney)

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